How do you teach a child to self soothe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am realizing that being able to self soothe & self regulate ones emotions is an important skill & I have no idea how to teach that to my children. My dd nurses at every upset in her life. I am her grounding / centering. I don't mind this but then I look at my ds who doesn't have that source of comfort nor have I been able to give him coping methods of his own. How does one teach this...especially if I'm not so sure I have these skills myself.

What do you do to self soothe & how do you teach your child?
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#2 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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I've been trying the method of always being there for them. If they are hurt or upset I try and comfort them as much as I am able. I see a lot of value to instilling the sense that no matter how bad it gets mom will always be there for you. My 5 year old DS started preschool in August and his teachers have always had great things to say about how well he does with balancing taking care of himself and looking out for others too.
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#3 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 01:38 PM
 
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This is a very good question.

I dont have an answer, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately. My dss always comes to me for comfort and sometimes I wonder how do I teach him that he can self soothe. I dont mind providing him comfort all the time, I enjoy it, but sometimes I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing that Im doing.
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#4 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by artgoddess View Post
I've been trying the method of always being there for them. If they are hurt or upset I try and comfort them as much as I am able. I see a lot of value to instilling the sense that no matter how bad it gets mom will always be there for you. My 5 year old DS started preschool in August and his teachers have always had great things to say about how well he does with balancing taking care of himself and looking out for others too.
This is what I do too. I think always being there for dss makes him feel confident that everything's ok, but I feel like I've become sort of a clutch for him. He's only 3 1/2 though, so maybe later on, I'll hear great things like you do of your ds.

The thing is he didnt use to be like this when I came into his life. He used to instead of get sad, get very angry and throw crazy tantrums. I would always comfort him and try to talk to him, so now he just gets sad over nothing and always comes to me. I think nobody really communicated with him in the way that I did and he has definitely become more loving, Im happy about that, but VERY dependent on me being close to him.
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#5 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 01:47 PM
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Check out Gottman's Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. It helped us figure out how to "coach" DD through her emotions, and she can already stop herself (SOMEtimes) when she's about to go berzerk and take a few deep breaths and think of something positive to do. It's a very early start but I feel like we have the tools now.

nak
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#6 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do the same - always being there for my dc as I am a SAHM & am ALWAYS there...I hope that by meeting their needs, or at least trying to, the need for me to be the comfort will eventually go away. I feel that being the source of solution for one's own comfort would be a positive gift that I could give them. I don't want them to rely on food, alcohol, drugs, or other things for soothing.

I LOVE Gottman's books - I think I have read all of them! I thought I owned that one to revisit it again but guess I have just checked it out that much! I keep reading it but am having a hard time applying it to my real life...I would really like some in real life examples to help me put it into fruition in my own life.
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#7 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 06:59 PM
 
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I teach them to self soothe the way I teach them to do everything else.

We do it together. Me leading the way by demonstration and by example, and being their solid foundation to reach beyond their own limited world experiences.

It's how they learn to wash dishes, vacuum, and calm down during a temper tantrum. They see me do it. And they know I will be there with them until and even after they can do it themselves.

GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
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#8 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=Theoretica;13053838]I teach them to self soothe the way I teach them to do everything else.

We do it together. Me leading the way by demonstration and by example, and being their solid foundation to reach beyond their own limited world experiences.

see me do it. QUOTE]

yes exactly that - but how do you self soothe? what are they watching you do to calm yourself?

I think that may be my real problem as I see them showing me that they can't calm themselves - I am realizing that I don't necessarily know how to do this myself...and be a role model. does that make any sense?
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#9 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 08:24 PM
 
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I can think of one example if that's what you are looking for. If DS gets really upset, like hysterical hyperventilating crying I will hold both his hands look at him and ask him to try and blow me over. I take a deep breath with him and ask him to blow really hard, no harder, blow hard, blow mommies hair back. It help him get his breathing under control and then he can tell me what is bothering him. I have since seen him a few time when crying and talking at the same time and I say I don't understand him, stop take a few deep breaths blow them out slowly and start over speaking more clearly. So I guess I gave him a tool. :
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#10 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 08:38 PM
 
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I teach them to self soothe the way I teach them to do everything else. We do it together. Me leading the way by demonstration and by example, and being their solid foundation to reach beyond their own limited world experiences.

see me do it.
yes exactly that - but how do you self soothe? what are they watching you do to calm yourself?

I think that may be my real problem as I see them showing me that they can't calm themselves - I am realizing that I don't necessarily know how to do this myself...and be a role model. does that make any sense?
Good question, I get it now

When I'm upset, I actively practice calming down in front of them. They might see me count quietly, they might see me say "I'm really upset and need to be left alone". They might see me listen to music and cry. They might see me ask DH for a hug. They might see me say "heya DD, mama is feeling sad/angry/frustrated right now, can we be silly so I can take my mind off it a bit?" If I'm royally Pissed Off they might see me say "Man I am SO ANGRY right now, I need to go journal (or whatever...) so I can feel calmer and play with you some more". Basically I don't hide my emotions from them (within reason) and I try to process it/verbalize in a way that they can comprehend.

As for helping them calm down, I really work on active listening the most, and make suggestions that they usually turn down because, well, they aren't happy with me at the time lolol

But, it DOES work. This cmas DD wanted to help daddy test lights. He doesn't want her to electrocute herself (picky picky) nor does he want them tangled. So he said no, but told her she could help HANG the lights later. Wow was she pissed! She sat there seething for a bit and then said "I am going to MY ROOM!" I said ok honey, are you all right? She said NO...I am SO MAD at Daddy right now I'd better go COOL OFF. And she stomped to her room and stayed there for about half an hour. She came back and proceeded to help hang the lights...life was calm and peaceful once again.

Does that help some?

GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
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#11 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I agree with [b]Theoretica[/quote], modeling is the best scenario.

When my son was younger he'd see me take long baths, play soft music, meditate etc. in order to sooth my stress. Now that he's a teen, I see him do the same things.

When he was young, I was there to soothe him because I don't expect a little kid to soothe themselves.

hth,
Kolleen
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#12 of 14 Old 01-23-2009, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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YES! Thank you! I think I need to increase my "vocabulary" if you will to increase my awareness of these things in my life & to incorporate them in our daily lives...examples were exactly what I want for ideas of how to be sure we incorporate these things consciously in our life. this is a big help for me. I think I have a hard time labeling my own emotions and how to soothe myself, take care of me & create boundaries - verbalizing it / processing it "out loud" in a way that they can comprehend is brilliant - & hopefully I will gain some understanding as well through that.

thanks!
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#13 of 14 Old 01-24-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I don't think you even have to try to teach it.

I'm there for DS when he needs it. Now that he's 4.5 he can ask for help or not ask for help; when he was much littler, he always needed my help. I remember at some point in the last year, he hurt himself I think, and I went over to check on him and I heard him saying something quietly to himself that I had said countless times before when he'd hurt himself and wanted my help. I thought it was so cool.

You don't have to show them how you self-soothe; you just meet their needs when they need soothing, and they'll figure out what works for them and what doesn't (for instance, breathing deep doesn't usually work for DS, it just angers him more, which makes sense b/c when I am told to breathe in a different way it angers me to no end).
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#14 of 14 Old 01-24-2009, 01:39 AM
 
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You no more have to teach it than how to crawl or walk or roll over. You live. You breathe. You interact. They learn.

-Angela
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